Welcome back surviviors. The apocalypse has hit and its time to band together to weather the harsh wasteland. With the recent PDXCon, Paradox Interactive announced the next title in the Surviving franchise: Surviving The Aftermath. Now in early access on the Epic Games Launcher, players get to try their hands at lasting as long as they can. Join us as we give our first impressions of this post apocalyptic colony manager.

What is Surviving The Aftermath?

Surviving The Aftermath, as mentioned above, is a post apocalyptic colony management game by Paradox Interactive. You are tasked with building a new home for a band of survivors. This new bastion of hope will require resources such as water, food, shelter, and medicine. As your colony grows bigger, more survivors might visit in hope to warm themselves with the flames of communion.

You will also have the opportunity to explore the world that is left. Exploring the lands around you is a great, but sometimes risky, way to gather more resources. Not only that, but you can uncover sites of scientific importance. By researching better technology, your colony can make use of electricity to grant you more beneficial buildings such as better medical stations.

Natural disasters will also put you to the test. Nuclear fallout, meteor strikes, and massive electrical storms can wreak havoc with your colony. Prepare for the worst and accept the inevitable losses as best as you can. As longer as you have survivors you can always rebuild. But, there are moral choices to make. Sometimes you can’t afford to take in any more survivors lest you sacrifice the stability of your colony. Turning people away is just one of many moral choices to make.

The First Game

Upon starting the game you are greeted by a wonderful art style for the menus. This is carried through to starting a new game. Of which the difficulty settings for your experience is not your typical setup. Instead of your typical easy, medium, and hard selection you get to customise a plethora of variables. These include the environment, frequency of catastrophes, starting resources, your beginning survivors, and event bias at your colony gates. To top this off, you get to customise your colony with a name, a flag, and a motto. Lovely touches.

Once your are happy with your level of masochism, the survivors are in your hands. Personally, the easiest settings were selected just to get a feel of the game and to fully breath it in without having to stress about a second apocalypse of the mind. At the moment, the tutorial comes in the form of tool tip activated guides. A fully fledged avatar guided experience isn’t present at the moment. But, there is enough for you to care for your survivors and get your feet wet.

As colony management games go, Surviving The Aftermath so far looks quite pretty. With weather effects such as rain and fog present and the local flora shifting in the wind. Subtle details like this can make the experience all the more immersive. The music is also awesome. It provides a mix of an eerie “tough times” vibe and feelings of “we are all in the same hole riddled boat held together with duck tape and hope”.

Building in The Aftermath is fairly straight forward. The tool tips guide your through the building menus when needed. By selecting the required building and placing the visual schematic at your desired spot, your colonists will transport resources to the location and begin construction. Simple. The game will let you know if you have insufficient resources to complete the building too.

Taking care of your survivors is fairly straightforward to begin with. You can build them shelters so they can rest, build trappers and farms to feed them, and construct water wells so they don’t die of thirst. They will live contently with those resources. However, there is always something better to build to either keep them safe, feed them more efficiently, or make them generally more content with their lives.

Upon building The Gate, other survivors will seek refuge at your colony. You have the option to accept or decline their pleas. If you accept, they will enter under your wing and protection with needs like the rest of the colony. This also means more workers to work your facilities and carriers of supplies. Aside from general survivors you might also be presented with specialists. Specialists can be sent out into the world and scavenge what is left, fight bandits for them, and gather research for better colony structures. Each has their own stats and story. Got to love a bit of flavour and lore.

It is all too easy to accept everyone at the gate. Attempting to be the bastion of hope to all is a noble thing to do. However, shelters require materials to build, mouths need feeding, and illness needs treating. This requires expansion and increased management. A personally failure in the first game. A positive and optimistic soul can set themselves up for disaster and that is exactly what happened. Resources ran low and catastrophes struck hard. Very sad times indeed. Every suvivor lost was heart felt and filled the air with despair.

Moving onto catastrophes, these come in many forms; magnetic storms that rip through your electrical buildings; pandemics that spreads illness everywhere; heatwaves that increase thirst and dry out crops; nuclear fallout that destroy crops and harm survivors; as well as other nasty events. Generally rule of thumb, the game will warn you with a 2 day window of when they will hit. This should give you enough time to at least curb the effects on your colony. There are also the odd, freak falling meteor you have to deal with now and again. The game likes to keep your on your toes!

The research tree is fairly simple yet effective. Once you find enough research out into the world, the game directs your to the research page. It displays 5 different trees: food, production, colony, security, and exploration. These allow for better structures and additional resources to be gathered. They are fairly simple trees which is easy on the eyes. Whether it be safer housing, protected or bigger farms, the introduction to electricity, or even clearing nuclear waste so you can build more, there are decisions to be made and lives to change.

Other fun aspects of the game are random events at the gates and in the colony. These can be roaming merchants willing to trade one resource for another, slavers teasing to hand over a captive in exchange for supplies, and even allowing the survivors to go on an expedition to test out rabbit traps. These events can give you a boost in resources, medical supplies, and colonists but sometimes can result in injuries or loss of resources. They keep the game interesting and tugs on the ricks reward logic.

The Verdict

With what has been played of the game so far, the opinions are very positive. It is still early days for the title. However, what it gives thus far is apocalyptic fun within a sea hardships and catastrophe. The game guides you into what is left of the world and allows you to learn from your mistakes. The feel and essence of the world is full of character. Of which the art style and music seal the experience. Every survivor matters and each loss leaves an emotion dent.

There are many mechanics that allow for colony management and survival to shine. They also compliment each other. It is fairly easy to pick up but allows for several grades of mastery. With the difficulty system of customising your conditions, there is a lot of replayability too. It is exciting to think of what is to come in future updates.

There are few bugs in the Surviving The Aftermath. These include path finding issues, construction bugs, and code that doesn’t execute properly. But, it is in early access and the team are quick to respond with in game and forum based feedback available. It is great to see pride being poured into a title with the community included within the development cycle. There is high hope for the future of Surviving The Aftermath. And, as it stands, it is recommended you to have a gander in the Epic Games Launcher. There are no regrets on this front.

Thank you for your perusal. Are you already playing Surviving The Aftermath or are interested in diving into a post-apocalyptic world? Let us know you thoughts in the comments below. We shall be following the development of the game when they occur. There is more information on the official Surviving The Aftermath website. Stay tuned for more news, reviews, and guides. Until next time, smile and game!